Maybe it’s because I have a teen, a pre-teen, and a getting-bigger-by-the-moment little boy who, together with their friends, demonstrate to me daily just how addicted to technology our society has become (and truth be told I’m not so far behind their over-reliance either). Maybe it’s because I hear from almost every patient who crosses my threshold how ever-increasing work demands keep them penned-up for amazingly long hours at desks and behind computers. Maybe it’s because I can’t really think of the last time I DIDN’T record on a patient’s chart a finding of too tight neck, shoulders or low back muscles – often associated with pain, numbness, decreased mobility, or just overall, pervasive tension… Whatever the reason, when the unexpected opportunity to study Postural Ergonomics (a modernized approach that focuses on remediating function, posture, brain-based efficiency and then, lastly, the environmental support to maintain those things) showed up in my life last month I knew it was a path I had to follow. (side note: I’ve come to rely on the way the next-right-step randomly shows up in my life – and usually from out of left-field – but that’s a topic for another day… let’s just say when opportunity knocks, always be ready to open the door)

Whatever the reason, the result was that I’ve spent what feels like every waking moment of the last 3+ weeks that wasn’t occupied with treating, mom-ing, or sleeping, immersed in the world of Sitting Disease, Digital Dementia and Tech Neck (to name but a few of the more catch-ily named ramifications of our modern, desk-driven, sedentary lifestyles). And let me tell you, (as if you couldn’t guess from your own experience of them) these things are no joke! They not only make us uncomfortable; they shorten lifespans. They change the way we interact with the world, and quite possibly the way the world perceives us.

Consider this: You sit at a desk all day at work, then you go home from a long workday and check your social media and watch TV. After watching a couple of shows you go to bed and repeat the same sedentary behaviors tomorrow. You end up sitting 8-12 hours per day, and sleeping another 8. Resulting in 16-20 hours of inactivity. Maybe you even go to the gym regularly (congratulations on that by the way!), but 1ish hours/day can’t be expected to (and doesn’t) mitigate the damage of all those sedentary ones.

Before you know it, you have gained weight, you feel exhausted after a day at work, your back hurts, and you can see your health diminishing right before your eyes. You want to make changes, you wish you could be more active, but your job requires you to work at a desk. So you keep sitting yourself sick.

Here’s just a scratch-at-the-surface of what some of the research I read shows:
– Prolonged sitting in poor posture predisposes you to depression, neck and back pain, obesity, chronic disease, and even early mortality.
– Men and women who sit more than 6 hours per day are more likely to die early than active individuals.
– Looking down at a neck-flexion angle of 60-degrees (say like while reading from a smartphone or tablet) causes the effective weight of your head to increase from it’s actual weight of ~10 lbs. to 60lbs!

Sounds dire, but don’t worry, if your job requires you to be seated, there is a solution to overcome Sitting Disease that doesn’t require you to quit your job. The first step is knowing what you’re up against. Sitting Disease is being referred to be many experts as ‘the new smoking’ because of it’s far reaching health consequences, and it’s flying under the radar just like smoking first did. I’m going to be doing some Workshops specifically on Sitting Disease and Digital Dementia soon – add your name to the ‘I’m Interested’ list by dropping me a quick email and I’ll be sure to keep you informed (or tell me you’re interested in having me bring a Workshop specifically to your workplace and we can make that happen too). A second (or concurrent) step might be changing habits and evaluating existing conditions. My Ergonomic Certification prepared me in the most comprehensive and amazing way to do assessments and make recommendations on Function, Posture, Cognition and Environmental conditions. I can do them in Clinic, On-Site or even Virtually. Simple awarenesses, modifications and exercises can make revolutionary differences. I’ve started to make them, and I invite you to do the same.

Get wellness advice delivered right to your inbox.